For Immediate Release
June 22, 2012

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Kansas TB Program Director Receives National Honor

TOPEKA, Kan. - Phil Griffin, Director of the Kansas Tuberculosis Control Program at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), was named the 2012 Controller of the Year by the National Tuberculosis Controllers Association (NTCA). This award is NTCA's highest award and is given for meritorious service and achievement at the state, regional or national level recognizing outstanding efforts related to the improvement of tuberculosis control and prevention leading toward elimination.

In the last 10 years, Griffin has moved the Kansas TB Program into a premier program. He was able to assist in getting a law passed that requires colleges to screen incoming students with Quantiferon (registered trademark of the test for TB.) Other states will be able to use the Kansas law as a template for similar laws to address the problem of TB on college campuses. Griffin has done a study showing the usefulness and cost effectiveness of Quantiferon in the screening of college students and in doing contact investigations.

He supports regionalization especially among low-incidence states that can benefit from sharing resources when faced with shrinking funding and resources. An example of regionalization was his invitation to Nebraska to join Kansas in conducting cohort reviews and sharing lessons learned.

“Phil has done an outstanding job in keeping Kansas a low-incidence state for TB and has gone the extra mile of introducing processes that have been adopted as national standards such as TB plans at colleges and universities,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. “I congratulate Phil on receiving the honor of TB Controller of the Year and thank him for all he has contributed to the TB program in Kansas.”

Griffin has served two tenures as president of the NTCA as well as in president-elect and past-president positions on the NTCA board. Under his leadership, he encouraged board members to develop constituent relationships, so that every state would know what is happening in NTCA, not just those on the board. He is nationally recognized as a TB expert and is called upon by CDC to assist in policy development and suggestions for improvement. 

“As the CDC Division of Tuberculosis Elimination (DTBE) official working directly with Phil, I can assure you that Phil has his finger on the pulse of everything that goes on within the TB programs throughout Kansas. He can be relied on to provide instant feedback to CDC upon request. Phil has maintained a level of excellence and innovation that exudes the finest qualities in public health, and to which many domestic programs look to for guidance,” said Mark C. Miner, Program Consultant, CDC/DTBE Project Officer. “He dedicates his time and services on national work-groups, meetings and high-level discussions for the betterment of TB control throughout the U.S. Phil fights for his constituency and advocates for the cause by being persistent and pragmatic.”

The KDHE Kansas Tuberculosis Program now provides medications for all of Kansas cases, regardless of health insurance status. The incidence rate for tuberculosis in Kansas for 2011 was 1.26 cases per 100,000 persons – about one third the U.S. rate of 3.37 per 100,000. In 2011, Kansas reported the lowest case count in the history of reporting TB with a total of 36 cases of active tuberculosis. 

For more information on the Kansas Tuberculosis Control Program, visit www.kdheks.gov/tb/.